Despite a less than ideal economic climate due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Laval managed to finish the 2020 fiscal year with signs of future growth and promising results, according to figures released last week by city officials.
In its 2020 report of economic results, the City of Laval says the region outperformed all other municipalities in the greater Montreal area with the lowest recorded negative economic growth at – 4.1 per cent (according to Desjardins), with an economic upsurge of +10 per cent forecast until the end of 2021 (which is higher than the average for all of Quebec).
While negative growth is considered anathema in normal economic times, the pandemic has turned it into an everyday factor that many governments and corporations are taking for granted these days.
According to the city, the impact of the pandemic has been in Laval primarily in the sectors of tourism and retail commerce.
Some sectors prospered
However, Laval has also benefited from the fact that other sectors, such as high-technology and the bio-sciences, have been able to seize on opportunities created by the pandemic for the products and services they provide.
“Laval’s performance indicates to us that we are well-positioned to regain our momentum despite the difficult economic environment,” said Mayor Marc Demers. “I would like to recognize the entrepreneurs and businesses from Laval for their capacity to adapt and their energy.
“It’s mostly thanks to them if Laval has come out of this so well,” Demers added. “I would also like to point out the collective effort involved: All together, we are taking the means to meet challenges brought on by COVID-19 in order to establish solid bases on which we will regain our momentum for the years ahead.”
A positive outlook
Deputy Mayor Stéphane Boyer, who is vice-president of the executive-committee and oversees economic dossiers, has also been feeling optimistic lately about the City of Laval’s prospects for growth in the years ahead.
“We have all been affected, as we survey the impact of the pandemic on our businesses here in Laval,” he said. “Nonetheless, we have also been fortunate to see how, through incredible will and the mobilization of all the economic partners, our businesses were able to collaborate in order to get things done.
“This solidarity by our businesses, with help provided by the city and higher governments, became a force against the difficulties that the business community as a whole was able to confront,” added Boyer.
According to Desjardins’ economic evaluation of Laval for 2021, the city will be seeing an economic rebound during the coming year. Here are some highlights from the 2020 report:
Laval had an unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent in 2020, which is substantially lower than metropolitan Montreal (10.1 per cent) and the province of Quebec (8.9 per cent).
Through various economic sectors in Laval, the value of new residential and non-residential real estate investments totaled $857.7 million, for a drop of 18.6 per cent, according to the city. The city says these numbers were negatively affected by a 36. 2 per cent drop in industrial and institutional real estate investments.
The city says the number of residential housing starts grew by 68.3 per cent compared by 2019 to reach 2,851 units, a peak since 2009.
Support for business
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city says it has put into place various emergency measures to support businesses, including deferring property tax payments, COVID-19 business loans, and a moratorium on repaying loans.
Covid and Cité de la Biotech
The city says that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a dozen businesses in Laval involved in bio-tech and bio-sciences have been actively involved in efforts to fight COVID-19.
Whether it was research for finding new vaccines, medications, diagnostic tests or decontamination technology, the expertise of these businesses proved to be indispensable and put Laval on the global stage.
The city is currently planning a major expansion of the Cité de la Biotech to further encourage this success.